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Joel Katz, managing director, CLIA Australasia

Cruise Travel Trends

Each year CLIA publishes a study on attitudes, behaviours and travel preferences of cruisers and non-cruisers. While primarily based on US data, the report is equally relevant here and offers valuable insight to how and why cruise holidays are on the rise. The study confirms that cruise travel continues to break down income and generational barriers proving that today there is a cruise for every travel preference, style, and budget.

This year, the study found almost all income brackets are cruising. The report also reveals a new generation of luxury travellers has emerged. Millennials are seeking out luxury cruises at a record pace with almost a quarter surveyed having sailed on a luxury cruise line within the past three years.

MILLENIAL NUMBERS RISE: The percent of Millennials who “definitely will” book a cruise for their next trip increased to 70 percent this year.

FRIENDSHIP: The study reports a significant number of cruisers traveling in groups. In fact, travellers who take a cruise are more likely to travel with friends, partners/companions, or children than land-based peers.

CRUISING ACROSS INCOMES: Income plays little role when choosing cruise as a holiday option.

HIGH SATISFACTION = LOYAL CRUISERS: Cruisers are loyal to cruising. In fact, more than half of cruisers believe a cruise is the best type of holiday. They find high satisfaction in both river cruises and ocean cruises. Nine out of 10 say they “probably or definitely will” cruise again.

KIDS ARE JUST THE HOOK: While around 41 percent of cruisers say they are interested in childcare services, including babysitting, and programs for children and teens, a much smaller percentage are reporting that they use these services.

DESTINATION SNACKING: Cruisers see cruising as a great way to sample different destinations and cities for future holidays. Millennials are inherent samplers and love to try new things before committing. They are increasingly likely to return to destinations visited first via a cruise. Indeed, all ages (except Gen X) show a greater likelihood of returning to a destination visited on a cruise.

AGENTS PROPEL CRUISERS: Travel agents are the most likely influencers of holiday-planning and decision-making for cruisers, who are twice as likely to use a travel agent when booking a holiday than non-cruisers.

This last finding is critical, and the reason it is essential that travel agents are equipped to capture the continued consumer interest in cruising.

Being endorsed by CLIA, the cruise industry body, as a specialist in your field will deliver a significant advantage in your local efforts to capture market share.

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